Some individuals are sure that their lives were too mundane to write about and wouldn’t be interesting to others or fear that they lack the necessary writing skills to capture anything of value from their life. Writing your own life story or reading about your ancestor’s lives can help teach you many lessons indirectly whether it’s analyzing your own life or an ancestor’s. A grandmother who felt she never achieved anything of value because she only raised nine children to adulthood is mistaken about her contributions. Maybe you are too. Start writing about your parents.
With a little encouragement, Kathleen Giebel of St. George told me some of her childhood experiences. I took notes as we talked, then edited her remarks. She remembers the strong example of her mother and told me…My dad died when I was 5 months old, so my mother had to go to work to support us. We lived with my grandmother in New York City. The only way to get around then was trolley cars, later there were trains then buses. I remember my mom had two suits to wear to work-one green and one brown complete with a little hat and matching shoes and purse.
Once a year mom would take out a small loan and use it to take a vacation with some girl friends around the country by train or car. Then she would pay the loan back and take another loan the next year for another vacation. This was in the days before airplane travel, but it was a tradition that gave my mom a break from her hectic work and life in the city. She traveled all over the United States and to Mexico. I didn’t go on her trips but my mother took me to museums and places of interest in NYC. Later when I grew up and married I traveled to many distant cities with my husband Ken for his work.
Challenge yourself to beginning writing down a few family experiences you remember with your parents. Don’t worry about editing your writing, just write down some ideas you’d like to share. Later, you can ask a friend or family member to help edit your writing to correct any errors and make it more interesting. But, it has to start with YOU. Another quote from Alex Haley: In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future. NEXT TIME: Ask for Help.